Honopu Valley & Cathedral Beach -- Na Pali Coast, Kauai, HI
August 15, 2013
Turns out doors-off Hughes 500 helicopters are quite loud, windy, and motion-sickness-inducing, but, boy, are they worth the ride. We took an aerial tour of Kauai midway through our August honeymoon. We had looked forward to it for weeks. On the ride our pilot flew us into canyons, up to waterfalls, and into valleys along the Na Pali coast. He knew Jeff was a photographer so he tried to turn around to give him the best vantage point whenever possible. We gaped at the diverse landscapes below, beauty we wouldn’t see any other way. Cathedral Beach, made famous in King Kong, was one of the smoother parts of the ride; just smooth enough for Jeff to get an excellent shot of the coast and for his stomach to settle for a few minutes.
Equally as memorable as the views below, though, were the exaggerated expressions of excitement, wonder, and sometimes terror we exchanged in the backseat as we motored along, strapped in like babies in car seats with only our faces to communicate. Sometimes the helicopter would lean, the floor’s vibrations would make my feet numb, or a light rain would drift in and out, getting Jeff’s glasses wet. But we’d crane our necks out to take advantage of the wild ride, looking back at each other periodically to share our amazement. We were absolutely blown away and almost couldn’t believe we were doing it, seeing what we were seeing.
When we landed back at the airport we took a picture with our pilot (he was awesome). Immediately afterward as we were walking to the car Jeff began giggling. Remember how I said it gets windy up there? Despite feeling sick, he somehow found time to make fun of my hair, which at this point looked extremely ridiculous, whipped around by the wind, rain, and pushed into a strange bouffant by the headphones we had to wear during the ride. It had also been involuntarily featured in the photograph with the pilot. Why he couldn’t tell me this was the case before the picture I still don’t know. It was one of those “JJJefffff!!” moments. But it was also one of his favorite things about me, how crazy my curly hair could get. It’s funny how memories like that, once maddening, can be a comfort now. I’d give anything to have that happen again.
- Sam Henneberry